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Gifted Healthcare

There are several long term acute care facilities in Georgia, including hospitals that provide long term acute care services for patients with this unique specialty.

Patients admitted to these hospitals or health care facilities require continued acute care.  They are usually referred by specialty hospitals or short-term acute care hospitals.  

With the complex needs in providing the needed care to help these patients advance in their recovery, there are typical challenges that accompany the profession of being an LTAC nurse in Georgia.

Unique Needs of LTAC Patients

An LTAC nurse career in Georgia requires a “unique ability to care for chronically critically ill patients who require specialized and aggressive care over an extended recovery period”, as described by a nurse staffing agency.

Doctors in specialized hospitals or other health facilities refer patients to long term acute care hospitals when the patients have specialized needs including:

  • Additional care, modalities, and treatments in an acute setting
  • Daily physician rounding
  • Specialized care that can’t be maintained in a short-term acute setting or a lower level setting

LTAC nursing jobs would include caring for patients with these common LTAC conditions:

  • Respiratory failure and pneumonia
  • Acute respiratory failure
  • Infectious diseases requiring IV antibiotics
  • Complex wounds
  • Neurological disorders like traumatic brain injuries
  • Acute cardiac disease
  • Multiple co morbid conditions
  • Other care requiring extended acute treatment

Patients in long term acute care facilities can have rehabilitation treatment incorporated in their treatment regimen to assist in their recovery process.  This is their advantage over inpatient rehabilitation facilities and skilled nursing facilities, both of which do not provide rehabilitation treatment.

Challenges that Accompany LTAC Nursing Jobs in Georgia

After confinement in a traditional hospital, typical LTAC patients in a long term acute care facility or hospital have multiple comorbidities, multiple-organ system failures, and significant loss of independence.

Familiarizing yourself with the following challenges that come along with Georgia LTAC nursing jobs if you are an aspiring LTAC nurse in Georgia will help you prepare to overcome them:

  1. Complex Caseload

Most LTAC patients, if not all, belong to the seemingly difficult to manage senior citizen population.  It can be challenging to deal with all kinds of tubes, lines, trachs, vents, secretions, wounds, and illnesses.

Overcoming this challenge:

Learn beyond what you are asked to do.  Develop critical thinking by learning to connect the dots between diagnoses, symptoms, impairments, pathophysiologies, and therapy.  Know what you need to prioritize—what needs to be treated immediately.  Set individual and specific goals for each patient.

  1.  Providing Competent Care

As an LTAC nurse, you may sometimes be overwhelmed with ensuring that you will provide care that is evidence-based and the notion to give the best solution to each of your patient’s problems.  

You may have had all the training you think you need for your profession and when you are on the job, you might, at times, feel that you are not enough.  

Overcoming this challenge:

Recognize and accept your weaknesses and the things you do not know.  Step out of your comfort zone and continue to strive for competence by taking online classes, attending continuing education workshops, and reading articles and blogs on being an LTAC nurse and caring for LTAC patients.

  1.  Making Difficult Decisions

Taking care of LTAC patients with complex diagnoses may sometimes bring you to face difficult questions and defining decision-making moments.  Doctors will not always provide straightforward assessments, treatments, and clinical decisions.

As an LTAC nurse, you may have to provide answers to questions (which can take many forms) from a patient’s family or from the patient like:

  • Can a patient eat?
  • Should the NG tube be removed?
  • What is the safest diet?
  • Can a patient speak?
  • What is the best method of communication?
  • Can your patient understand what is being said?

    Overcoming this challenge:

Remember that every patient is an individual who needs to be treated with dignity, empathy, and compassion.  Being an LTAC nurse will teach you the importance of person-centered care, especially for elderly persons suffering from pre-existing conditions and patients requiring ongoing intensive care.  

After discussing the best plan of care with the entire medical team and especially with the patient, learn to make smart and important decisions and recommendations when the occasion arises.

Finding Fulfillment with an LTAC Nurse Career in Georgia

Working at an LTAC facility as an LTAC nurse in Georgia poses many difficulties, let alone the physical, emotional, and mental challenges you will encounter with the job.  But, at the end of the day, above the skills and education that you have earned taking care of LTAC patients, you will find that living with an LTAC nurse career in Georgia is immensely gratifying and fulfilling.